Summer is officially here! Time to trade in sweaters for swimsuits and head to the beach. I LOVE spending time outside but am a psycho about sun exposure. I avoid the sun at all costs because it scares the sh*t out of me. Skin cancer, wrinkles, pigmentation, fine lines, less collagen, brown mustaches, and sunburns just aren’t worth it, ya know? In fact, a friend recently sent me this article about "facekinis," China’s latest skin-savvy craze, and I think it's genius. As a certified SPF lunatic, I've answered your most burning sunscreen questions (pun intended). Hope you can use them this summer!
What type of sunscreen should I use?
Invest in a mineral sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens sit on top of the skin and deflect the sun’s harmful rays, whereas chemical sunscreens convert rays into heat and release it. Chemical sunscreens are often harsher on the skin and can mess with your hormones, so I’d recommend a mineral sunscreen, especially for your face. Look for a sunscreen offering “broad spectrum” to protect against UVA rays as well as UVB rays. While spray sunscreens can be convenient for a quick re-application, the ingredient oxybenzone that's in some sprays can be dangerous to inhale -- potentially disrupting the body’s reproductive tract.
What are your go-to sunscreen products?
I use different sunscreens for different situations. Here’s a run-down of a few of my favorites for when I need...
How much suncreen should I use?
Apply a nickel-sized amount to your face daily and a full shot glass full for your body. Don’t forget to cover often-missed spots like eyelids (skin around your eyes is very thin, and therefore more vulnerable), scalp and hairline. Reapply every two hours you're in the sun and more frequently if you go in the water or sweat (there's no such thing as a truly waterproof sunscreen).
Do I really need to apply sunscreen if... *fill in non-sunny situation here*
YES. Even if you’re driving in the car, it’s cloudy, you’re only out for 15 minutes, it's before 10am or after 4pm, you have skin that doesn’t burn...YES. Sun damage is incremental, meaning it adds up over time, causing significant damage years down the road. There isn’t a daily threshold for minutes in the sun or time of day -- so get on that psycho SPF routine regardless of the circumstance.
Does a higher SPF number offer more protection?
My derm recommends SPF 30-50 at all times, so SPF 30 is my minimum
. SPF 15 protects against 93% of UVB rays, whereas SPF 30 protects against 98%. And while SPF 100 may sound extreme, a recently published study
found it protected against sun damage significantly better than SPF 50. In the study, participants split their face in half and applied SPF 100 to one side and SPF 50 to the other, spent a day outside and had their sun damage measured the following day. 55% of participants saw less sun damage on the SPF 100 side, regardless of skin type, age, or gender. Ultimately, a higher SPF won't hurt, but try to opt for at least SPF 30.